Criminal Liability of Expert Physician for Knowingly Giving False Testimony in the Republic of Armenia

It should be recognized that in the Republic of Armenia there are no unified principles of forensic medical examinations, as in all other CIS countries, so it is reasonable that many citizens have doubts about the reliability and validity of expert opinions.

In order to implement the adversarial principle, there is a significant need to verify and evaluate the results of expert examinations.

The opinion of an expert physician in a case of any nature is one of the essential evidence to establish the objective truth in the case under consideration.

In this regard, a false medical expert opinion will not provide important evidentiary information in the case at hand to establish in court the true situation, which will clearly entail a miscarriage of justice.

In practice, it often happens that a citizen decides to “bribe” the expert physician in order for the court to rule in his favor. And that is why doctors-experts sometimes give knowingly false conclusions of the case.

The motives for an expert doctor to give a deliberately false conclusion can be absolutely different facts. In particular, it is undue influence from interested persons, self-interest, etc.

How in that case to establish the objective truth in court, if the conclusion of the doctor-expert is the most important source of evidence, but the information contained in it does not correspond to reality?

The Armenian legislator should not allow a real possibility to “tweak” the conclusion of the medical expert in the right direction by those interested in the outcome of the case in question.

If you find yourself in such an unpleasant situation, you need to do your best to make the RA judicial authority recognize the conclusion of the medical expert as inadmissible evidence, otherwise you will never get a fair court decision as a result of the case.

As a rule, such cases are rather complicated and voluminous, so it is worth to use the services of a qualified attorney in order to protect your rights in court and to contribute to the fair decision of the Court of RA.

In order to protect the citizens’ rights of access to justice within the Armenian jurisdiction and to protect from abuse by “bribed” experts in any field, the Armenian legislator included an article in the Criminal Code of the Republic of Armenia, which criminalizes experts for giving knowingly false conclusions.

According to Article 338 of the RA Criminal Code, the submission of a deliberately false conclusion or testimony by an expert in a case, regardless of civil, administrative or criminal proceedings is punishable by a fine from one hundredfold to three hundredfold of the minimum wage.

The alternative punishment for such a criminal act is arrest for a maximum period of two months, or imprisonment for a maximum period of two years.

Thus, a prerequisite for holding an expert criminally liable is the knowingly false nature of his conclusion, i.e. the expert must be clearly convinced that the information contained in his conclusion does not correspond to reality. If there has been a good faith delusion on the part of the expert, then criminal liability is excluded.

In order to exclude criminal liability, experts always invoke unintentional error or good faith error, even though the conclusion they have reached is clearly erroneous beyond a reasonable doubt.

In connection with this circumstance, the probability of being held criminally liable under Article 338 of the RA Criminal Code is extremely low, but as they say, nothing is impossible, if the case is taken by a professional of his craft!